Three Crosses – the meaning behind the image.

It’s probably fair to say that the vast majority of my pictures are taken and processed to produce a final image which is pleasing to my eye, and hopefully to others as well, as opposed to trying to reveal some special meaning or storyline.  It is not very often that when taking the shot itself that I am consciously aware of why I might be taking the picture and any feelings I may have which lie hidden within the image.

With this photograph of my local parish church, St Peter and St Mary, Fishbourne near Chichester in West Sussex, it was different. Perhaps I should explain.

Three Crosses
Three Crosses – Fishbourne

Let me begin by saying that this shot was taken late in the afternoon on the 22nd August. In the morning of the very same day we had said ‘goodbye’ to my father in law at a Funeral Service at a nearby crematorium. He had peacefully passed away the previous week having suffered from cancer for five years. That afternoon I simply felt I wanted to be outside, alone with my camera, in a place which is close to my heart.

As I started to work my way around the churchyard looking for a good angle from which I could photograph the church itself, I became very aware of the tombstones in the churchyard and how the dappled light was shining through the trees and falling on the the stone crosses in the foreground. Initially only one cross formed part of the shot, but as I moved around a second cross entered the frame and this gave added depth to the image. It was then that I was reminded of my late sister who also died at Easter of cancer this year.

The final composition was beginning to take shape. I was very low to the ground and the tilting screen of the Olympus OMD EM5 was essential to making the image. With such a low point of view I could not have used the built in viewfinder without my body adopting some contorted and very uncomfortable position!

I had previously concentrated on the two main crosses on the left hand side but as my eye scanned the frame I saw a third cross on the far right hand side. Although much smaller is size it had to form part of the final image and should not be cropped or cut in half. Whilst arguably less significant than the two other crosses, this third cross also had an affect upon me. It reminded me of our dog, a merry cocker spaniel, who we lost this year, again to cancer, only a few days before my sister passed away.

And so the final image – ‘Three crosses’ was made. Each element an important part of the photograph but a representation of how life, through death, has changed for me and my family this year.

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